Education Law Center

June news: Budget updates; oral argument date set for funding lawsuit; advocacy for students in foster care and early learning programs
Harrisburg must adequately invest in Pennsylvania children
As budget negotiations heat up in the state capitol, ELC is concerned that there will not be sufficient state increases for basic education, special education, and early education funding. We finally have a fair education funding formula, but a formula is only as good as the money sent through it! The tentative budget agreement includes the following new education investments: $200 million for basic education funding, $20 million in special education, and $25 million in early education. We believe these investments should be greater to meet the needs of our students across the Commonwealth.
 
Relatedly, Education Law Center is urging the Pennsylvania House of Representatives to vote no on HB 530. House Bill 530 would allow for unchecked charter expansion without regard for academic quality, oversight, or accountability and would destabilize districts' finances and severely limit their ability to ensure that students are receiving a quality education. 

Oral argument date set for ELC school funding lawsuit
This month, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court announced that it will hear oral argument for our landmark education funding lawsuit on September 13, 2016, in its Philadelphia courtroom. The Education Law Center and the Public Interest Law Center originally filed this suit in Pennsylvania's Commonwealth Court in November 2014. Now, nearly two years later, we will be arguing to the state's highest court that Pennsylvania's General Assembly has failed to uphold its constitutional obligation to provide a "thorough and efficient" system of public education. Please mark your calendar to join us on September 13th in Philadelphia to support this crucial case!
Join the Campaign for Fair Education Funding
Alongside 50 organizations across Pennsylvania, Education Law Center is a leading member of the Campaign for Fair Education Funding. Click below to read more about our efforts to ensure that every student has access to a quality education no matter where he or she lives.
ELC advocacy informs new federal guidance for improving educational access for children in foster care
The Education Law Center's long-time advocacy for children in foster care informe d new joint federal guidance  issued by the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services to ensure school stability and improve educational outcomes for the 270,000 children of school age in foster care. ELC is proud to be a founding member of the Legal Center for Foster Care and Education, along with the American Bar Association's Center on Children and the Law and the Juvenile Law Center. The Center will continue to work with federal and state officials on effective implementation of the new law in light of this guidance.
ELC makes progress in restricting the use of exclusionary discipline in Pennsylvania early learning programs 
ELC applauds Pennsylvania State Interagency Coordinating Council (SICC) for passing a resolution urging the Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) to develop a comprehensive statewide policy banning the use of exclusionary discipline in all early learning programs across Pennsylvania. The Resolution was a direct result of our work, in collaboration with the ACLU and our early intervention and early childhood partners, who pressed the SICC to take this action. As ELC continues this work to limit and eliminate the use of exclusionary discipline in early childhood settings, we also remain committed to raising and addressing these issues in other forums, including school districts and the General Assembly, to extend this ban to students in elementary school.
ELC Board member named "Who's Next: Law" in Philadelphia
Member of the Education Law Center's Board of Directors and Blank Rome LLP Associate Melanie Carter was profiled in Billy Penn's "Who's Next: Law" list. She has also been named a "Lawyer on the Fast Track" by The Legal Intelligencer and has been recognized for her pro bono work. Melanie is a graduate of the Temple University Beasley School of Law. Former ELC legal intern Mark Burgmann, currently at the Philadelphia District Attorney's office, and ELC friend and collaborator Lauren Fine, co-founder and co-director Youth Sentencing & Reentry Project, also made the list. Congratulations!
The U.S. Department of Education released new Civil Rights Data Collection statistics this month from the 2013-2014 school year. Among other findings, the biennial survey found that racial disparities continue to exist in U.S. schools, especially in the use of school discipline. Black students were found to be 3.6 times more likely to be suspended than white students in preschool and 3.8 times more likely to be suspended in kindergarten through 12th grade.
ELC hosts listening session on school discipline and pushout 
ELC has continued to collaborate with  PowerCorpsPHL, an AmeriCorps program for youth ages 18-26. During a listening session, young women shared with ELC staff accounts of school pushout, and parents told of their children's experiences with school discipline. After highlighting the challenges they had faced, the young women generated a comprehensive list of policy changes and suggestions to make schools fair for all students, but especially for Black girls-who are 6 times more likely than white girls to face suspensions. This listening session, along with previous sessions with young women at Philadelphia Juvenile Justice Services Center, Girls Inc., and Gwen's Girls, will inform ELC's policy and advocacy efforts against the pushout of Black girls. 
ELC attorneys join national cohort committed to racial justice 
Two Education Law Center attorneys joined thirty-nine other advocates from across the country at the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law's 2016 Racial Justice Training Institute in Chicago, IL. Staff Attorney Cheryl Kleiman and Stoneleigh Emerging Leader Fellow Ashley Sawyer shared ELC's work to advance access and equity for students of color, and are eager to join colleagues from around the country in a growing multi-state network of education advocates fighting for racial justice. 
Pittsburgh Public Schools and School District of Philadelphia enact new policies protecting the rights of transgender students
ELC applauds Pittsburgh Public Schools and the School District of Philadelphia for protecting the rights of transgender students with new policies enacted this month. These policies are an important step to ensuring a positive school climate and an encouraging example for districts across the Commonwealth.
Save the date! Education Law Center event to be  held in Philadelphia on September 29
Please save the date for Education Law Center's Annual Celebration.  We are pleased to announce that this year's event will honor outstanding champions in the fight to ensure access to quality public education for every student: 
  • Pepper Hamilton LLP, for the firm's commitment to Pennsylvania's public school students and years of engagement with ELC; 
  • Signe Wilkinson, the Pulitzer Prize winning editorial cartoonist best known for her work at the Philadelphia Daily News, Inquirer and Philly.com; and 
  • Dr. Monique W. Morris, author, professor, and social justice scholar; co-founder of the National Black Women's Justice Institute and author of Push-Out: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools.
And we will present the ELC Pro Bono Award t o: Paul Saint-Antoine and Chanda Miller from Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP who have dedicated countless pro bono hours as we together help clients facing illegal school barriers.
United Way Donor Choice Codes: 1873 (Southeastern PA); 4547 (Allegheny County)

A copy of the Education Law Center's official registration and financial information may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State by calling 1-800-732-0999. Registration does not imply endorsement.  
Ensuring access to a quality public education for all children in Pennsylvania
 
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